Defense -- Crossing the Line

Aircraft Carrier MSDF HyugaAircraft Carrier MSDF HyugaBy Alex Calvo

Should Japan have aircraft carriers?

Aircraft carriers have been for the last few decades almost the exclusive domain of the United States, which has a total of 11, one of them based in Japan. Although a reduced number of countries, like France and Britain, or nearer to Japan, Thailand and India, have some of the smaller variety, Japan’s Maritime Self Defense Force doesn’t have any such ship, and their construction or purchase abroad is not included in current naval plans.


Entrepreneurism -- Business From the Ground up

Sales department manager Masayo NamikiMasayo NamikiBy Michael Condon

For young foreigners in Japan, Sakura House may seem ubiquitous, but it remains a small business at heart

During the numbing hangover of the post-bubble days of the early 1990s, a real estate man found himself wandering the streets of Tokyo looking for direction. In the mid-1980s, land in Ginza was said to be priceless while real estate in the remainder of Tokyo, wasn’t far off. But when the party was over at the end of the bubble era, the prices of overvalued properties came crashing down.


Technology -- Fry up, Worry Down

Takeshi Hara, president of Tokyo’s Greenizer Co., Ltd.Takeshi HaraBy Hugh Ashton

How one Tokyo entrepreneur is taking the heat off fried foods

For a long time, it has been known that deep-fried foods cause health problems. Not only do French fries, a guilty pleasure for many, increase their eaters’ weight, with all the health risks associated with obesity, but the oil oxidizes at the temperatures associated with frying starchy foods and oxidized oil poses many questions regarding health.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to enjoy these fried treats without continually having to worry about the possible dangers to one’s health?


Defense -- The Perfect Storm

Illustration: MissilesBy Tobias Harris

Will the conservatives change the face of Japan’s defense policy?

The great puzzle in Japanese security policy is why, despite the consensus within the LDP in favor of a more robust, independent security and persistent worries about North Korea and China among the public at large, Japan has failed to spend more—or the same—on defense, and nor has it made legal and doctrinal changes that would enable Japan to meet threats originating from its neighbors.


Real Estate -- Out of the Rubble

HouseBy Timm Tuttle

A new insurance system has emerged but will the handful of operators be able to handle the workload?

Nearly four years after a scandal exploded over structurally unsafe housing in Japan, the country’s government is set to introduce a new system protecting home and condominium owners against defects in construction.


The Music Industry -- Real Music for a Virtual World

Musicians can reach people they wouldn’t have been able to previously.By Jean-Julien Aucouturier

With nearly 1.5 million members, could concerts in Second Life be the future of music?

The two artists, both professional musicians, couldn’t be more different. One is a live-show powerhouse, playing more than 20 sell-out gigs per month. His fans travel from all over the world just to see him, and many have been following him since the early days. The other is not reaching the audience he deserves. Embroiled in a disproportionate network of industrial interests, his artistic freedom is jeopardized and his music denied radio airplay.


Human Resources -- Agents of Change

Illustration: tightrope walkerBy Stephen Long

Why we need to rethink top-down management

Growing a business during a recession is the ultimate test of leadership. Many believe that it’s impossible, but consider that while the Nikkei Index plunged almost 40 percent between the fourth quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009, there are some who thrive.


Labor Market -- Sayonara Salaryman?

SalarymanBy Steffen Heinrich and Florian Kohlbacher

Change and continuity in Japan’s permanent employment system

More than a decade of reforms have made Japan a global leader in non-regular employment; lay-offs have become common and many expect that the current market environment will bring about an overhaul of Japanese HR strategies. Yet, despite all this, we find that the system of permanent employment has hardly changed.


Entertainment -- The Business of Short Films

Tetsuya BesshoTetsuya BesshoBy Michael Condon

Interview with Tetsuya Bessho, founder of the Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia.

Films were a major part of the visual culture industry that flourished during the 20th century. Since the invention of moving pictures by Edison and the Lumiere brothers, the medium has only had about 100 years to develop. Its history has been shorter when compared to novels and music in terms of their innovation and diversification.



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